NBA Playoffs 2011: What Does O.J. Mayo's Future Hold with the Memphis Grizzlies?

Tarik MowattContributor IIIMay 1, 2011

NBA Playoffs 2011: What Does O.J. Mayo's Future Hold with the Memphis Grizzlies?

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    Earlier in the NBA season, the Indiana Pacers were literally a minute too late from acquiring the Memphis Grizzlies' O.J. Mayo for Josh McRoberts and a 2011 first-round draft pick.

    Mayo has done an adequate job off the bench during the playoffs, but he hasn't lived up to expectations. I'm going to go ahead and say that's mostly because of Zach Randolph's growing stardom on the team though.

    Memphis assumed Mayo and Marc Gasol would become a force to be reckoned with, but instead Mayo's become a bench player.

    And to be honest, his scoring and lack of rebounding/assists can easily be replaced.

    Maybe he can become a poor man's Brandon Roy, or maybe Memphis will trade him for a sack of peanuts. It all depends on what the Grizzlies are looking for to help the team become a title contender.

    So here are some trade ideas I came up with for Memphis.

    Just as a note for everyone, these were all deals done with ESPN's NBA Trade Machine, and because of the player options on contracts and other rules, my options were cut down to what they would of been prior to the trade deadline.

    All of these deals would happen during the next NBA season, considering there is one.

The Teams: The Grizzlies and the Cleveland Cavaliers

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    *Note: The players are displayed in the order of position/name/efficiency rating.

    The Trade

    Memphis Grizzlies get:

    Shooting Guard: Alonzo Gee (10.8)

    Point Guard: Daniel Gibson (13.3)

    Forward: Luke Harangody (10.2)


    Cleveland Cavaliers get:

    Shooting Guard: O.J. Mayo (12.7) 

    Shooting Guard: Xavier Henry (7)

    Point Guard: Ishmael Smith (7.7)


    Why This Trade Would Occur:

    The Grizzlies want to get rid of Mayo, and this is a great way to do it.

    Alonzo Gee is just slightly less efficient than Mayo (1.9 difference), but on the bright side, they receive a very efficient point guard and Luke Harangody, who can play both forward spots.

    The beauty of this deal for the Grizzlies lies in the contracts.

    Xavier Henry had a four-year contract with $2 million each year. Gee has only a two-year contract and is also significantly cheaper at only $650,000. Harangody is basically a smaller, more athletic Troy Murphy. If Memphis doesn't like him, he's not expensive. Plus his contract is short, at just two years and $480,000.

    The Cavaliers, on the other hand, get Mayo and a backup in Henry. Ishmael Smith wouldn't affect Cleveland's depth at the point guard position too much, backing up Ramon Sessions and Baron Davis.

    Cleveland needs a player to build around, and with two first-round picks in the upcoming draft, I'd say the future looks pretty bright with this trade.

The Devil's Trade: The Grizzlies, L.A. Lakers and Charlotte Bobcats

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    *Note: The players are displayed in the order of position/name/efficiency rating.


    The Trade

    Memphis Grizzlies get:

    Shooting Guard: Stephen Jackson (14.6)

    Shooting Guard: Garrett Temple (4.7)


    Charlotte Bobcats get:

    Shooting Guard: Xavier Henry (7)

    Point Guard: Steve Blake (7.5)

    Point Guard: Ishmael Smith (7.7)

    Two first-round picks: Lakers and Grizzlies


    L.A. Lakers get:

    Shooting Guard: O.J. Mayo (12.7)


    Why This Trade Would Occur:

    Realistically, I think only one, maybe two, of these three teams would want this deal. 

    Only the Lakers and Bobcats would approve of this deal; the Grizzlies probably wouldn't go for it.

    This deal would go through though because the Memphis Grizzlies would get an experienced shooting guard in Stephen Jackson. Garrett Temple would be thrown in for cap space reasons. With one year and less than $500,000 in his contract, if Charlotte wants to keep a cheap back-up shooting guard, they can re-sign him.

    Jackson is no longer the player he was a few years ago, but he should easily be able to replace Mayo's presence, especially in stretching the floor. At the age of 33, he's not a long-term solution, but in the short term, it's a decent deal.

    The Lakers would like this deal for one reason.

    Kobe isn't getting any younger. With this deal, the Lakers receive an All-Star player in Mayo, which gives Los Angeles a bright future with their own "Big Three" (please forgive me for that overused phrase) of Andrew Bynum, Mayo and Pau Gasol. Mayo will never be on the same level as Kobe, but at least he has a great amount of potential. He may be the best solution as Bryant ages and eventually walks away from the NBA.

    I think the real winner in this case is Michael Jordan, who can enter a full-blown rebuilding mode by trading Jackson. This gives Matt Carroll and Gerald Henderson time to develop. According to ESPN's NBA Trade Machine, this also takes away four wins from the Bobcats, who would probably want to score a high draft pick.

The Changing of the Guards: Grizzlies, Charlotte Bobcats and Chicago Bulls

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    *Note: The players are displayed in the order of position/name/efficiency rating.

    The Trade

    Memphis Grizzlies get:

    Shooting Guard: Ronnie Brewer (13.9)

    Shooting Guard: Keith Bogans (9)

    Guard: Garrett Temple (4.7)


    Charlotte Bobcats get:

    Shooting Guard: Jannero Pargo (?)

    Shooting Guard: Kyle Korver (13)

    Shooting Guard: Xavier Henry (7)

    Two first-round picks: Bulls and Grizzlies


    Chicago Bulls get:

    Shooting Guard: O.J. Mayo (12.7)

    Shooting Guard: Stephen Jackson (14.6)

    Guard: Greivis Vasquez (12.7)


    Why This Trade Would Occur:

    The Chicago Bulls are the real winners of this deal, losing three decent shooting guards and gaining a former All-Star shooting guard, plus one, in process. They also get a guy who can play both guard positions. All three are better than their traded counterparts, so Chicago becomes a title contender for years to come.

    The Bobcats get a three-point specialist, plus two others. The two draft picks would be the real deal for Charlotte, and maybe Kyle Korver could help guide the youngsters on the team.

    Either that, or he could get bought out and join the Miami Heat like Bibby.

    Joking aside, this deal helps the Bobcats clear up cap space for the future. Even if they don't want to build through free agency, being under the cap is great if you want to rebuild your team.

    Memphis would get two veteran shooting guards, and as I've said before, a guy who is just there for cap space. The Grizzlies don't need a huge turnout for Mayo, they just need a solid back-up for Tony Allen, and Brewer and Bogans are perfect for the job.

    However, Bogans, Brewer and Allen shouldn't be considered a long-term solution because of their ages. if Memphis were to take this deal, they would have two or three years to find a more long-term solution.  For the time being though, it adds depth at the shooting guard position.

A Deal Redone: Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers

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    *Note: The players are displayed in the order of position/name/efficiency rating.

    The Trade

    Memphis Grizzlies get:

    Shooting Guard: Dahntay Jones (13.8)

    Shooting Guard: Brandon Rush (10.6)


    Indiana Pacers get:

    Shooting Guard: O.J. Mayo (12.7)


    Why This Trade Would Occur:

    The Grizzlies get two shooting guards for literally the price of one, and also the thing I love most in a team, depth. 

    Jones is 30 years old, but that isn't a big problem since Memphis also gets Brandon Rush, who is only 25 years old. Rush can turn into a starter when Tony Allen starts to lose his touch, and Jones can be a good substitute in case Allen gets injured. Depth on a team is essentially a safety net, and the Grizzlies get a pretty big one in this deal.

    The Indiana Pacers, like the Chicago Bulls, need help at the shooting guard spot.

    Why Mayo?

    Because unlike the Chicago Bulls, the Pacers really need a go-to guy.

    Mayo has the potential to be that guy. Besides, in the Pacers' situation, I'd give up depth for talent, then rebuild the depth around that talent. That's what the Celtics did in 2008, and it's worked out for them pretty well.

    If the Pacers want to contend for a title, they will need to make moves. They don't have to be huge moves, just smart moves.

    I think this would be a smart move for them.

The Best Deal for Mayo?

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    No deal at all.

    That's right, the Grizzlies don't trade him.

    They don't let him leave via free agency, they keep him.

    Mayo will become a starter in place of Tony Allen. His talent is obvious; even if Grizzlies' management wants to trade him, they have to realize what they are trading here. They also have to realize he is not going to develop properly coming off the bench. I'm a fan of Mayo (despite the Allen Iverson actions off court) because on the court, he can be unstoppable at times.

    That being said, I'm really interested in what the Grizzlies decide to do with him. With two years on his contract, one after the postseason, the Grizzlies are going to have to make a very tough choice.

    Should Memphis believe Mayo will get everything straightened out and try to keep him so he can shine once more? Or do the Grizzlies trust that the team can do without him and trade him away?

    What would I do?

    Personally, I'd only let him go if he wanted to go. Players with his talent don't land on your doorstep everyday, and the talent outweighs the risk, for me at least.

    What would you do? Feel free to leave a comment.

A Small Sidenote...

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    If anyone has an article idea, I'd be more than happy to write about it. I hope you guys liked the slideshow, and thanks for reading.